Winter. Love it or hate it, the thermometer is going to drop dramatically, leaving you shivering. Of course, there are the traditional ways of staying warm that include a heavy coat, scarf, and mittens; however, there are actually other less used methods that also can keep your internal oven lit.
These techniques don’t necessarily involve running for miles to work up a sweat and boost your metabolism (although that’s how many people utilize exercise during the colder months). As you’ll read, some of these techniques are as easy as changing your breathing patterns. Here are six ways to curtail the cold when you’re out and about this winter…
Consume Many Calories
This is not an invitation to be a glutton, but you should make sure you’re consuming enough food in winter to stay warm. The glucose from the food will help keep your blood sugar up, which will assist in your body in generating heat, according to LiveScience.
Not only should you be consuming hearty stews and other protein- and carbohydrate rich meals (spicy food can help keep you even warmer), you should also ensure you’re well hydrated (alcohol doesn’t count; it will end up dehydrating you). Having a good balance of food and water in your diet will help boost your cold weather tolerance, added LiveScience.
Increase Your Natural Tolerance
You know those people that jump half-naked into icy water for charity around New Year’s? They’re crazy, right? Possibly. However, many of those brave (if not crazy) souls also condition themselves before taking the plunge.
You can do the same for yourself to lower your trigger point for feeling overly cold (without having to dive into freezing water), notes LiveScience. The more time you spend in the cold, the more you can tolerate it, notes the source. It’s not clear why through scientific means, but it may have something to do with “brown fat” that actually burns calories (instead of storing them like our regular fat) and generates heat.
Take a Cold Shower First
This may seem counterintuitive, but according to an online source for men called MenProvement, cold showers increase blood circulation to your major organs to keep them warmer. The cold shower may have other benefits such as speeding up muscle recovery, and even boosting fertility, according to MenProvement.
Just like jumping into icy waters, taking a cold shower for the first (or third) time can be a shock to your system. That’s why the source recommends you take a warm shower and end on a cold note (for at least a minute). Keep this going each day until your shower is mostly all cold water.
Make Your Own Hand Warmers
When it’s extremely cold out, the extremities (ears, toes and fingers) tend to be the body parts that feel the bite first – which could lead to dangerous and painful frostbite. Mental Floss suggests making hand warmers (instead of buying the expensive packs) with sealable bags, water and calcium chloride ice-melter pellets.
Lifehacker.com’s detailed description of how to achieve this: fill a quarter of a larger resealable bag the ice-melting pellets first. Fill a smaller resealable bag halfway with water, seal it and place inside the bigger bag. Squeeze out all excess air and seal it. Then squeeze the whole bag until the smaller bag bursts, which will create a warming reaction in about 20 minutes (or depending how many pellets you use). Stick these warming bags into your pockets, and heck – why not even into your boots?
Think in Layers
It may be obvious, as NBC Chicago points out, but adding extra layers to your clothing before heading outside is key. That could include wearing an extra shirt or two under your jacket to prevent cold air from reaching your skin, notes the news source. Also, warm air gets trapped between the layers and is less likely to escape.
For the ladies, it’s recommended to wear long underwear rather than leggings. It’s not a sacrifice of function over fashion, as long underwear for ladies look a lot like leggings and also dry more quickly, according to NBC Chicago.
Be a Breath of Warm Air
According to Yoga Journal, there is a technique called “Ujjayi Breath” which “helps warm you from the inside out”. The method requires you to create a “light restriction” in the back of your throat, while using your nose only to breathe (slowly).
The explanation from the source is that constricting the muscles in your throat while breathing slowly through your nose increases the amount of work your body’s respiratory system has to do, which will (theoretically) naturally increase internal heat. This breathing pattern can be repeated for up to 20 cycles.